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Reviewed by:
  • Piakandatu ami Dr. Howard P. McKaughan
  • R. David Zorc
Loren Billings and Nelleke Goudswaard, eds. 2010. Piakandatu ami Dr. Howard P. McKaughan. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines and SIL Philippines, xvi + 317 pp. + CD attached. ISBN 978-971-780-026-4. $17.50, paper.

According to the SIL synopsis, Piakandatu ami—in honor of—Dr. Howard P. McKaughan is a collection of 42 papers celebrating McKaughan's distinguished career as a linguist, covering time spent in Mexico, the Philippines, Hawai'i, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, Thailand, and Sabah, Malaysia, as well as the establishment of linguistic departments at the University of Hawai'i and Payap University in Thailand. The volume includes both full analytical papers and short vignettes from many who have been influenced by McKaughan (

Altogether, there are 47 authors, representing a veritable who's who or who's new in Philippine (or Austronesian) linguistics or in the language world at large.1 I sincerely take my hat off to the editors for casting such a wide net. It is truly admirable to see a festschrift with so many contributors from such a variety of arenas in the peripatetic life of Howard McKaughan.

Because of the breadth and outreach of all of these articles combined, there is probably no one who could do this kind of review justice. While I do not consider myself in any sense a provincial linguist—having dabbled in facets of the phonology, morphology, syntax, and discourse of Philippine, Australian Aboriginal, Armenian, Cushitic, and Bantu languages, taught English as a second language, and even researched language death—some of these gems are beyond my ken. Therefore, I am approaching this task with a careful mix of humility and admiration.

The majority of these articles are (at least in part) in the realm of "congratulatoria," and inform the reader what a marvelous person, teacher, researcher, and administrator McKaughan has been and is. More than half (24) are four pages or less; seven are from five to nine pages in length; six are twelve to nineteen pages; and five are above twenty pages (22 to 27).

The Preface follows the Table of Contents and outlines the theme of the book (linguistic connections across an ocean). While many of the articles admirably chronicle and emulate Howard McKaughan's multifaceted research and output, and the editors briefly summarize the honoree's career, no basic biographical information is presented.2 The editors also elucidate the choice and meaning of the title and background information whence the project sprang. Then they say that "in the call for contributions we invited linguists—broadly [End Page 278] defined—whose work has been influenced by the honoree. We called for both short contributions and full analytical papers" (vii). There are 42 separate articles presented in alphabetical order by the surname of the contributor(s). This placement in and of itself was a wise choice, avoiding any possibility of being misconstrued as some kind of ranking or pecking order.

A table then presents 21 wide-ranging areas covered by the authors.3 I would beg to differ with the juxtaposition of syntax and typology. For me, syntax is a broader term for what was traditionally called grammar, but typology has to do with the classification of languages, sometimes but certainly not always based on syntactic phenomena (such as word order, or polysynthesis). In its broadest sense, a typological subclassification could include phonological criteria (for example, fricativeless languages), morphology (for example, infixation, gender, noun classes), discourse phenomena (word-order switching for emphasis, an abundance of discourse particles), or even culture (hunting-gathering, agricultural, industrial). Numerous as these are, I would revise the table of areas covered by the authors to include the following (bringing the total to twenty-five):

  • (18) syntax/grammar (Billings, Donohue, Kaufman, Kroeger, Sommer);

  • (22) computer use (Hsu, Rose);

  • (23) congratulatoria (Bender, Elkins, Himes, Kess, Lincoln, Loving, Lynip, Newell, Pallesen, Pike, Rensch, Schütz);

  • (24) discourse (Franklin, Kaufman, Kroeger);

  • (25) typology (Billings, Donohue, Franklin, Kaufman, Kroeger, Reid).

There is a factual error (an unedited typo on p. ix): "In fact, McKaughan had a hand in setting up linguistics departments at three institutions...


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